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Is diabetes linked with depression?

New research shows that diabetes and depression are linked through metabolic syndrome and other neurochemical pathways.

Executive Summary Video

Depression has been considered a psychiatric condition for ages. However, modern research suggests that it has a metabolic component to it, too. That means, it can be a physiological disorder just like diabetes.

There are many reasons why diabetes could be associated with depression. However, that does not mean one causes another or vice versa. There could be a third reason which triggers both, for example.

Diabetes is found to double the risk of developing depression. More than 40% of diabetics claim that they have struggled with their mental health after the diabetes diagnosis.

Similarly, people facing depression may be socially withdrawn, may not take care of their health, be worried about diabetes all the time, and may not seek help from experts in time. These possibilities may contribute to the development and progression of diabetes.

However, these factors are more psychosocial than metabolic. Evidence is slowly emerging that there are neurochemical factors underlying depression that are connected with glucose metabolism. Similarly, some papers show that depression is a comorbidity (a medical condition simultaneously present with another) of metabolic syndrome, which is the main cause of diabetes. Conversely, metabolic syndrome is more prevalent in depressed compared to non-depressed individuals.

My Views

  • Diabetes and depression share many common symptoms such as a feeling of fatigue, tiredness, and mental fog. So it can become hard to tell if one has diabetes, depression, or both, without proper testing.
  • If a diabetic notices depresssion symptoms longer than two weeks, one should seek medical help to rule out depression.
  • A person with depression should check for diabetes at least once every three to six months.
  • If one has depression before developing diabetes, it can make the depression symptoms worse.

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First published on: 14th December 2021
Image Credit: Liza Summer on Pexels


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